4 Answers

  1. Are you kidding me? This question did not cause me anything but bewilderment. Just think of Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher on the throne.. the last of the “five good emperors”.

  2. Comment:

    Controversial formulations of the question are” facts “(although what is meant by such here is not obvious), “in the history of mankind” (the scale is as general as it is uncertain),” philosophers ” (famous great philosophers in history? persons with relevant education and qualifications/uch. degree? university teachers who work professionally in this field/employees of institutes? just smart people, intellectuals who were made” philosophers ” by rumor?) – complicate the “direct” answer to the question expected by the questioner. So I won't talk about the great ones – from Socrates to Mamardashvili… Here are some thoughts about the question that, with some effort on the part of the questioner, can become answers (or material for such)

    1. Aristotle on philosophy: “of the sciences, wisdom is more that which is desirable for its own sake and for knowledge, than that which is desirable for the benefit derived from it… all other sciences are more necessary than this, but none is better” (Metaphysics. Book 1, Chapter 2), i.e. utilitarian utility, practical applicability are not an adequate criterion for the viability of philosophy, its dignity over other types of human activity, its necessity for a person.

    2. If the question is formulated in relation to other professions of a person (for clarity-those whose usefulness is usually not in doubt), for example, doctors, engineers, scientists, writers, etc., the required facts/examples will obviously be more. And most likely, these will be significant facts and great names (recall the scale of the “history of mankind”). But how will these names (great doctors, brilliant engineers, outstanding scientists, world-famous writers, etc.) surpass hundreds and thousands of their nameless (although perhaps no less gifted and professional) colleagues in the shop?

    /// I omit the argument for lack of time, I give the conclusion ///

    This will be the ability to understand the limits of the current stage of development of the sphere of human activity that these great ones are engaged in, the ability to question them (at a time when most professional colleagues are quite comfortable within these limits) and only therefore see new horizons that later become the horizons of all mankind. This ability of mental awareness of boundaries, the ability to transcend, is philosophical in origin and mode of implementation, and every great (significant, serious) professional in any field of activity is at the same time a philosopher in this sense. For an example, you can read ” Physics and Philosophy. Part and Whole” by V. Heisenberg.

    1. Reflexive modification is a development of the previous consideration: If the question is serious, then the questioner is really looking for evidence of the contribution of philosophers to the piggy bank of human history. His skepticism about this and criticism of the answers already given are not absolute: convinced of the futility of philosophers, it is unlikely that he will ask such a question, and after being convinced of the inadequacy (from his point of view) of the answers, comment on them.

    Who can offer a serious and proven (non-zero and non-negative) answer to such a question? It is unlikely that this will be a radical opponent of philosophy or an indifferent “pofigist” to it. This will be an apologist (defender) of philosophy (from this the answer is more serious and it is more interesting to criticize): professional or non-professional, like the great scientist mentioned above. Consequently, the use of philosophers to questioners is assumed not (only) as the content of the answer, but as a condition for the meaningfulness of the question.

    Is the scale of such “philosophical utility” insufficient, its smallness relative to the “history of mankind”? Well, you can correct it… by your own evolution (intellectual, professional) of the questioner, by the growing scale (not only voluminous, but also qualitative) of the effectiveness of your (future or present) professional work. Maybe one day, in a Nobel lecture, the questioner will remember: “The impetus for my serious studies, for which I am honored today, was an old question that I once asked MYSELF:” Are there any facts from the history of mankind when philosophers were useful?”… Success!!!

  3. Have philosophers ever been useful?�

    I will not even mention the obvious fact that in ancient times natural science was not separated from philosophy, so the philosophical method of cognition of the surrounding reality was the only one available.�
    But let's talk about achievements that will be understandable to modern people.Let's just say that the fact that you are not currently working 12 hours in the fields of your feudal lord, who can easily do anything to you, is a direct merit of the philosophers of the Enlightenment. And this is just one example.

    Many people overestimate the power and power of the material. Of course, the Great French Revolution began not with an idea, but with discontent with the living conditions of various strata of the population, but the fact that the Great French Revolution, which opened the way to Europe for what we call the modern world, was precisely a revolution, and not a senseless riot that was sooner or later suppressed by government troops, is due to the intelligentsia, armed�

    The ideas that philosophers formulate have such a significant impact on the world that it is very easy to either overlook or underestimate them.

  4. In the sense of useful?! Many of the scientists were philosophers, the same Archimedes, Socrates and others. (I named those who are easier to understand). Moreover, they followed astrology. This is so, for additional information. In general, philosophy is the ability to think and look for answers to rhetorical questions. I don't know how useful the latter is, but the ability to think was very useful in the course of history. Philosophy has some similarities with science. It also, like science, strives for truth. Just like science, philosophy seeks to prove its propositions. Just like science, philosophy requires intellectual freedom and cannot be content with relying on authority. However, philosophy is different from science. It has no experiment, its language is not formalized.�
    However, the most significant philosophical conclusions should be supported by life practice. It is not for nothing that many philosophical systems are based on parables, using them to clearly explain their essence.�
    If science studies what exists and its knowledge is objective knowledge, then philosophy speaks not only about what exists, but also about what is due. It seeks to reveal the human value of the phenomenon under consideration, cannot give knowledge separated from the subject, the objectivity of its conclusions is always relative.
    Philosophy also has similarities with art. Philosophy often operates not with concepts, but with symbols that are close to artistic images. However, unlike art, philosophy focuses on the mind, not on emotions, on logic, not on fantasy and intuition.
    Philosophy is also close to religion. In essence, both of them consider transcendental objects, deal with the same range of issues (the meaning of human life, good and evil, etc.). However, if in religion the final result of reflection is always already known (from the creed, from the holy books), then in philosophy the final result of reflection cannot be given by reference to authority. It is possible to arrive at it only as a result of more or less lengthy reasoning.�
    What is the role of philosophy in the spiritual life of a person and society?
    Philosophy in a concentrated form expresses the essence of a particular culture, the essence of a particular era. Therefore, it is impossible to approach meaningfully the experience of previous generations, the history of different civilizations, without having an idea of what philosophical ideas were peculiar to their culture. In philosophy, the experience of personal and social life is summed up in an abstract and extremely general way. It is through the change and continuity of philosophical ideas that we can judge the variability and at the same time the permanence of human existence, the diversity and at the same time the unity of human culture.�
    Philosophy is necessary for the formation of independent, creative, independent thinking. The experience of the history of philosophy teaches us to take a critical attitude to the stereotypes imposed on human thinking in any society, which are beneficial for those who dominate economic, political and spiritual life today. Philosophical culture is an important prerequisite for developing one's own position, and an evidentiary position based on strong arguments.

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